Turbo Kid | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Turbo Kid

If you loved the apocalypse as offered in 1980s cinema, this comedic actioner is for you

This indie Canadian film is an homage to the apocalyptic adventures of yesteryear, from biggies like Mad Max and Waterworld to dozens of straight-to-video actioners. This time, the action is set in the “distant future of 1997” (the first of many jokes rooting this film in a 1980s sensibility). Water is scarce, people are violent and damaged, and one tween boy known as “the kid” makes do by scavenging. 

Then two significant things happen: The kid makes a new friend, the super-hyper, bubbly girl named Apple, and they hook up with a posse (on BMX bikes) who are out to take down a villain named Zeus. There are chase scenes, disgusting kills (like using a winch to uncoil someone’s intestines), random super-powers and the dusty camaraderie of the wasteland. There are also references galore to this film’s antecedents, in costumes, music (an electronic soundtrack), cheesy dialogue and, well, BMX bikes. It’s done with a lot of affection, and will resonate deepest with those who learned of the coming apocalypses by watching VHS tapes or cable late at night.

The 2024 Olympickle Games
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The 2024 Olympickle Games

By Mars Johnson